Comic writers are responsible for bringing some of the most vivid stories any of us will ever read to life, and Marvel will be argued by many as the creme de la creme of story-telling, but even they get things wrong from time to time.
Retcons come part and parcel with comic books – sometimes, a character’s origin will require re-working, a story arc will need to reset some boundaries, heck, every couple of decades the entire universe may need a reboot, and it’s meant to be for the greater good.
Meant to be.
While there are a myriad of retcons that have come off without a hitch, improving a character or completely reinventing certain titles for the better, you can’t please everyone, so it’s not a surprise that every now and then things go really, really wrong for a given retcon.
Here we break down 10 examples of retcon revisions that left readers with the impression change can be nothing but a bad thing, and while some are just annoying, others are downright hurtful…
10. Puck Is A Mystical Prison
Let’s start off small—and no we don’t mean the first entry on our list is less significant—we’re referring to the pint-sized punch artist of Canadian super-group Alpha Flight Puck.
Now, originally, the character of Eugene Judd was created by John Byrne and debuted in Alpha Flight issue one as simply a dwarf superhero with no superpowers, just an insanely high level of combat and acrobatic skills, as well as having the kind of mid-fight quips that would make a certain web-crawler green with envy.
Puck was always written as a character who suffered from constant pain, something which was later attributed by Byrne as a result of the condition achondroplasty, a common cause of dwarfism.
But Bill Mantlo later took over Alpha Flight and decided that wasn’t sufficient explanation for Puck’s statue. Instead, he rewrote Judd’s origin story to read that he was once a seven-foot adventurer who stumbled upon the Black Blade of Baghdad, a scimitar that contained the spirit of evil sorcerer Raazer.
Over time, Raazer’s spirit weakened Puck, shortening him to just four feet over time and almost killing him until the Canadian hero’s own light or some other-which cheesy gobble-dee-gook defeated him.
Puck became a living, breathing prison for Raazer, thus explaining his “constant pain,” although it did extend Judd’s lifespan tremendously as he was born in 1914.